The chair was established anonymously in September 2009 to support research and scholarly activity in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The position was filled by Novak in September 2011.
Novak is an expert in polymer research. His research program currently encompasses projects in several major areas in materials chemistry, including macromolecular chirality, optical switches and molecular machines.
I joined UT Dallas from North Carolina State University, where I had served since 1998 as head of the Chemistry Department and a chaired chemistry professor in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Attracted by the ambitious agenda set forth by our upper administration, I stand ready to meet the challenges associated with elevating this institution into the Tier One research university rankings.
Dr. Bruce Novak joined UT Dallas as dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in 2011.
His research program involves polymer research and currently encompasses projects in materials chemistry, including macromolecular chirality, optical switches and molecular machines.
Novak said teaching is his great passion.
“There are few times in life when you can truly have an impact on someone, and I find teaching to be an incredibly rewarding experience,” Novak said. “I believe very strongly in the university system. Over the last millennia, modern universities have played a pivotal role in the progress of human understanding of the world around us.”
He says he prides himself on making even the most difficult subjects fun and understandable for students. To that end, he was selected several times as a “most-loved professor” at North Carolina State University, where he worked from 1998 to 2011.
Born in Flint, Mich. and raised in Southern California, Novak joined the U.S. Army for a five-year stint before enrolling in California State University, Northridge. He graduated summa cum laude in 1983 and obtained his master’s degree in chemistry from the same institution. Novak earned his doctoral degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1989.
He began his teaching career at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1993, he joined the University of Massachusetts in the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering before moving in 1998 to North Carolina State University, where he was a Distinguished University Professor. During his time in Massachusetts, Novak was awarded the ACS Carl S. Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Award.
Outside the realm of research, Novak has a particular interest in scuba diving, particularly deep-water wreck diving.